14 March 2016
All change, all change! A hermeneutic of Repetitively Ruinous Rupture.
BRIGHT NEW DAWN Number 1: October 11 1962
Readers will be familiar with the idea that Vatican II (Bologna means rupture not rapture) was a new start. So, in the following years, you damaged rather than enhanced your case by doing anything so absurd as backing up your arguments with the utterances of pre-Conciliar Roman pontiffs. Who, in 1970, looked back to the encyclicals of Pius XII for enlightenment? Or to the teaching of Pius XI on the Kingship of Christ? Or to the condemnations of Modernism under S Pius X? Just when it was most needed, the Anti-Modernist Oath was abolished!
Yes, you do all know all that, and you are aware too that the "Hermeneutic of Continuity" represented Benedict XVI's determination to stitch up the tear in the integrity of the Church's Magisterium; to unrupt the rupture.
BRIGHT NEW DAWN Number 2: March 13 2013
But I think we're in a very similar, or analogous, position now. What preceded Pope Francis is now old Hat. The Magisterium of S John Paul II and of Pope Benedict XVI has become a superseded construct. History began anew at the moment when Papa Bergoglio apparently didn't tell Guido Marini that the Carnival was Over. The very moment that he appeared to the Faithful not wearing the garments of Office worn by his predecessors in the See of Rome, and took a name never before born by a Roman Pontiff, he symbolised the Bright New Rupture.
You think that I am putting too much emphasis on mere symbols? Fair enough. But I ask you to consider the campaign to readmit the divorced and 'remarried' to Holy Communion; a campaign which was in fact invited and originated by the pope himself when he sponsored the heterodox and heteropractic views of Walter Kasper, apparently one of his two favourite theologians. True, the very recent Magisterium of S John Paul II (Familiaris Consortio 1981) and Benedict XVI (Caritatis Sacramentum 2007), not to mention pellucid documents of the other organs of the Magisterium, had been very clear about the impossibility of allowing this. But: So What ... and: Who Cares. Previous Pontiffs ... even great Vatican II itself ... now fell behind the starting-point of the new Age of Pope Francis, who can do anything. Or rather, during whose pontificate any thing can be done if only 'Reformers' can get their own hands on the papal levers of power.
So we have had Reinhardt Marx telling the world that Germany is not a subsidiary of Rome and is not prepared to wait for what she is demanding; Vincent Nichols talking about readmitting the "civilly remarried" after a "demanding penitential pathway". Things in this country reached a disgracefully low point: the organisers of that 2014 document which was signed by nearly 500 English and Welsh priests reportedly had "a certain amount of pressure ... intimidation from some senior churchmen" put on them to shut up (it seems improbable that these pressures were applied, by whoever did apply them, in the knowledge that Nichols would disapprove of such intimidation). And ... God help us all! ... those 500-or-so undisciplined presbyters were doing nothing other than asserting what had been reaffirmed, as recently as 2007, to be the Church's principled and unchangeable teaching! What Naughty Boys we were to do something so daring, and without permission!
We'll be needing special episcopal faculties to say the Creed soon ("Oh dear me, Father, I don't think I can allow that ... ... some of your parishioners would find it very Divisive ... ")!
What an unbelievable situation, this game of declaring the doctrinal slate to have been wiped clean in less than a decade so that pushy new men who've mugged up on the Francis-jargon can rewrite the Church's Magisterium, Sartre-like, on a nice blank page!
This is all so manifestly silly that it can't go on.
At least, not plausibly in a Church which claims to be a teaching Church.